Sea Rations

Pizza Delivery

The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. (Genesis 7:24)

Dont’ talk to me about death row cuisine. I’ve done enough flying to know that, even in business class, after 24 hours of flight time the food starts to taste like bad cabbage. It doesn’t matter what it is or if it’s served on a linen table cloth with icy metal tableware; after a while it all looks like something recovered from Roswell. In spite of your hunger, you begin to dread the arrival of that little cart in the aisle with its trays stacked like the catacombs. The smiling flight attendant who asks you if you want the pasta or the chicken bears a disconcerting resemblance to the pasty albino in the Pit of Despair.

So there’s Noah and crew, snug in manure-pungent squalor, not a Chinese takeout in sight. The menu options stare balefully into the dank semi-darkness of the hold. The wine, once plentiful, is gone. All that remains are a small pile of oats, six skins of tepid water, and a handful of onions. Mrs. Noah doesn’t even try to be creative anymore. “Here,” she grunts dropping a soggy glop of oat mush in Noah’s bowl. She sneers, “I’ll bring the dessert tray later.” Noah looks at the gray clump and sighs. A hundred and fifty days in this floating outhouse. Surrounded by prime cuts of beef, veal, and poultry—all sacrosanct, seed for the new world. A haggard goat sniffs his bowl and turns away. Noah considers. Who would miss a goat? But he knows Who would. He sighs again. You can’t always get what you want. The gray glop will have to do.

When the dove brings back the olive branch, Noah smiles. He’s been coaxing the edibles to mate, hoping to jump start the meat industry. He hopes within a few weeks to roast a little lamb with maybe some mint jelly. Maybe even a boiled egg or two. And once the beastly passengers debark, he doesn’t care what the management thinks; it’s open season as far as he’s concerned. He’s been a good boy, he thinks loudly into the sky. You owe me a juicy steak. The sky doesn’t answer, but Noah knows it heard him.

When he kicks open the ark’s massive hatch, he is met by a dazzling band arched across the heavens. This, he is told, is a rainbow, the sign of a promise that there will never be the need for another ark. Noah is relieved, not exactly thankful, but relieved. It’s as good as he can muster. As he watches the animals amble by, he notices a half-dozen rabbits shuffle trustingly by. He grins. “God is great,” he mumbles. “God is good.” Noah licks his lips. “Let us thank him for this food.”

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